When I heard the current lineup of Kansas was releasing a new album, I was of course skeptical. Like Yes, the current lineup features only a few long time members (original members Phil Ehart and Richard Williams). Unlike Yes, Kansas have 2 more long standing members in Billy Greer (who replaced Dave Hope 30 years ago!) and violinist David Ragsdale who has replaced Robby Steinhardt TWICE!
Still without primary songwriters Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh, how good would new music be? “With This Heart” is the first single from their upcoming album “The Prelude Implicit.” It’s the first track on the album and the studio debut of a few of the members including vocalist Ronnie Platt. Platt is not Walsh but when Walsh retired in 2014, he really couldn’t hit the notes any more. Platt can definitely sing and does have similarities to not only Walsh but also John Elefante who was the singer in the early 80s.
So musically, the song sounds just enough like Kansas that it works on that level. The song does have some odd time signatures but as lead tracks go, it isn’t anywhere close to really any of their past glory. It’s an okay song with a memorable hook but certainly nothing I am overly excited about. I am reminded what Roger Waters said when asked about “A Momentary Lapse of Reason.” He called it a “fair forgery.” I suppose that’s how I look at this. It sounds like they are checking the boxes that would make them sound like Kansas. Hopefully the album as a whole does a bit more than this track.